Lesson 1: Foundations

Overview: Students will learn about the medium of podcasting as a whole, hear about some of the different types/formats of podcasts that exist, and become familiar with the various elements that go into making a podcast.

Students will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast host-on-mic, narrative and Q&A podcasts

  • Define podcasting and understand that there are a plethora of podcast topics

  • Distinguish between podcasting, blogging, and vlogging (e.g., YouTubers)

Targeted PTD Behaviors:

  • Communication

  • Creativity

  • Collaboration

Activities:

  • Podcasts 101 (15 minutes)

  • Types of Podcasts (15 minutes)

  • Production Elements (10 minutes)

  • Small Group Activity (10 minutes)

  • Class Discussion (10 minutes)

Key Terms:

  • Podcast — an episodic series of digital audio (or video) files which an individual can download in order to listen to

  • Audio Engineer — an individual who helps to produce a recording or a live performance, balancing and adjusting sound sources using equalization and audio effects, mixing, reproduction, and reinforcement of sound

What you need:

  • A computer with speakers and an internet connection

What students need:

  • A pencil and paper


Part 1: Gauging Student Knowledge

Start by spending the first fifteen minutes of class discussing podcasts. Evaluate what students know or don’t know about podcasts by asking a few questions:

  • What is a podcast?

  • What are podcasts about?

  • Where can you hear podcasts?

  • Why would YOU listen to a podcast?

  • What podcasts have you listened to? What elements from it do you remember?

 

Part 2: Types of Podcasts

Expose students about the different formats that a podcast can take:

  • Host-On-Mic Format

    • One host/one voice

    • Focus of the episode is on one theme or central question

    • Guests or other speakers are rarely included

    • Many generate listener questions and use these as topics of discussion

    • Tend to be shorter (10 to 15 minutes per episode)

    • Examples:

  • Q&A Format

    • Involves a host interviewing a subject/guest

    • Focal point is the rapport between the host and the guest, and the interactions between them

    • The goal of the host is to help the interview subject feel comfortable enough to speak naturally and tell the story that they’ve always wanted to share with the world

    • Tend to be very long and edited down (45 to 90 minutes)

    • Examples:

  • Narrative Format

    • The theme, subject-matter and content is 100% focused on telling a story

    • The story can be fictional or nonfiction

    • Use of dramatic sound effects and music is very important

    • Episodes tend to follow a chronological structure, allowing new plot twists or details within a story to unfold over time

    • Examples:

 

Part 3: Production Elements

Introduce students to the design process of creating a podcast. Below is not an exhaustive list but, rather, a selection of the key elements that go into most podcasts. Some topics, such as sponsorships, are intentionally omitted.

  1. Idea Generation/Brainstorming

  2. Scripting — either story or wishlist for guests

  3. Audio Recording

  4. Audio Editing

  5. Sound Effects/Music Selection

  6. Publishing

  7. Marketing

 

Part 4: Small Group Activity

In small, randomized groups, ask students to brainstorm a list of topics for podcasts that they would like to listen to. Don’t worry about any guidelines or restrictions — make this open-ended and really focus on students engaging their creative juices to come up with their own list of ideas.

 

Part 5: Class Discussion

Coming back together as a class, encourage student groups to share their podcast topic and format ideas.

Before wrapping up, have students consider:

  1. The wide variety of ideas for podcast topics that they’ve brainstormed and that already exist — the opportunities are endless

    • Students should walk away feeling excited and encouraged about exploring new podcasts that explore topics they are personally interested in

  2. How can a seemingly daunting task of producing a podcast be simplified?

    • Students should understand that, when broken down into its component parts, producing a podcast is not so different from writing an essay or even filming a short video to post on social media. They should feel like creating their own podcast is well within the realm of possibility.

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